Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Small Story about a Big Bag

Okay, maybe it's not really a small story, but here it is anyway:

When I was pregnant with Miss, the first baby-related item I bought was a custom diaper bag from 1154 Lill. I love 1154 Lill, because you can select from many different styles of bags and then pick the fabric you want for the bag, either in one of their stores or right on their website. I first bought a Lill bag in Kansas City in one of their stores (which has since closed I think, though they still have stores in Chicago and I believe Boston). The first bag I bought was a laptop bag, and I still use it when I work. It's a gorgeous bag, and I love it. So, when the time came to get a diaper bag, naturally I wanted to design my own Lill bag. Here is the bag I made online when pregnant with Miss:

This has been a great bag and I have received tons of compliments on it. It is sturdy and has held up very well to daily use and often over-stuffing with the many things I need to tote around with Miss. However, it has some things about it that annoy me, like this:

And also the fact that the strap is just a bit too long and is not adjustable other than to make it really short. So when I'm carrying Miss and my bag, the bag hangs just a bit too low for me to get into it with one hand while holding her with the other. I always end up stopping, bending my leg and lifting my foot to push the bag up enough that I can reach my keys or whatever else I need to get out of the bag. Plus, if you've ever packed a diaper bag with cloth diapers, you know how much room they take up. When I bought this bag, I did not necessarily plan to cloth diaper Miss and didn't know enough about using cloth for that to have that be something that would go into my selection of diaper bag. This bag has usually been sufficient for handling cloth diapers for one baby, but when I think about adding all the stuff that I need for two babies in cloth diapers, one a newborn and one a toddler. . . well, I knew this bag would just not cut it.

Fortunately, I had heard of a mom who makes fabulous bags and sells them in an Etsy shop, Brooke Van Gory Designs (Can you tell I'm seriously Etsy addicted? I just love buying things made by other moms). I told my hubby that I wanted a gift certificate for her Up-sized Expedient Weekender/Diaper bag for my birthday. This is a very large diaper bag with lots of pockets and a matching wetbag that can hook on to the outside of the bag instead of taking up room on the inside for dirty diapers (what a great idea!!). Being the fabulous husband he is, he got it for me. I was so excited I contacted Brooke right away and she helped me pick the fabric for my bag. A great thing about her bags is that you can pick from fabrics she has shown on her website, or you can pick almost anything else that you can find, provided it would work for the construction of the bag (when designing a Lill bag, you have to choose from the fabrics they have in their store). Brooke and I looked through lots of different fabrics (Michael Miller, Amy Butler, etc.) to select what I wanted for my bag.

Now here comes the part where the small story isn't so small. Brooke got the bag made and shipped it off to me. Unfortunately, my hubby almost never uses Paypal (which is how he paid for the bag, as is typical for most Etsy shops) and didn't even realize that the address on his account was our old address in North Carolina, where we haven't lived in over two years! Well, it didn't occur to either of us that Brooke would print the shipping label from Paypal (though this is a pretty standard practice among sellers who use Paypal), but that's what happened and the bag got sent to the old homestead in NC. It took about a week before Brooke and I realized what had happened, at which point I proceeded to call the post office and start an investigation to find the bag. Unfortunately the PO dropped the ball and the "investigation" was not pursued, so another week went by before I contacted them again and they tried to speak with the mail carrier to find out what he could remember about the delivery. In the meantime, I sent a letter through snail mail (I didn't have a phone number or email, but of course had the address. . .) to the people who bought the house from us asking them to please be on the lookout for the bag and mark it "return to sender" and put it back in the mail at their earliest convenience. The woman who bought the house from us called me and told me they had just sold the house themselves and would pass along the request to the new owners at their closing later that day. I told her that the bag had already been delivered two weeks before. Unfortunately she and her husband had not been living in the house for over a month, so the bag was delivered and sat at my old, vacant, house for up to two weeks. My phone number was passed along to the new owners. I never heard anything from them, though I didn't expect to, figuring the bag was long gone at that point.

I was sad. I really wanted that bag.

Then, Brooke swooped in and saved the day. She just decided to remake the bag for me, and so she did. Talk about customer service. I have to give her major props for doing that, and for how completely awesome the bag turned out. After all that build up, here it is:

I knew it would be bigger than my old bag, but couldn't believe how much bigger it turned out to be!!

Both bags have plenty of outer storage space, plus lots of pockets inside. My old bag had four interior pockets, which was great, except that I ended up without a good place to store my "mommy stuff" (lip balm, Tums, etc.), so I just threw it in the same pocket with the snacks/sippy cup, etc. Here's a photo of the old bag, containing toys, a changing pad, a bonnet, one cloth diaper, some food, diaper cleanup stuff, and Miss's Tiny Diner placemat (which I LOVE; I am a serious baby gear head):

Here's the new bag containing the same stuff. There is so much more room in there!! And even better, there's a whole extra pocket (5 total on the inside of this bag) where I can put my "mommy stuff" and zip it away.
The straps are just the right length to be able to reach into the bag while it's on my shoulder. The bag is actually almost too big. Almost. But not really. I have been known to cram a lot of stuff into a bag when toting one child, and this bag will definitely be none too big when I have stuff for two. And the quality of the workmanship it top notch. Plus, the Brooke bag is significantly less expensive!

The only thing I regret a little about this bag is that it is sooo similar in its color scheme to my old bag. Obviously that's because I love the colors in both of them. And I do absolutely love the new bag, I just have a very small part of me that wishes I had branched out to something a little different. But realistically, that would only be useful if I were planning to switch between bags to match what I was wearing or something, and I know I will probably never switch back to the old bag again, so it's probably best that I got the new bag in the color scheme that I love the most rather than going for something different just because. So yeah, scratch that. I'm so glad I got what I got.

I have to say big "Thanks!!" to my hubby and to Brooke for this fantastic new bag!! I'm so excited to start carrying little newborn-sized cloth diapers in there in a few months. And I have to say, if you're in the market for a bag, check out Brooke's Etsy shop. She has smaller bags too if you're not in the market for a super duper diaper bag/weekend travel bag, she does great work at great prices, and she's fantastic to work with. Five stars for sure!

1 comment:

  1. I just got one in May and they are the best bags ever! It's the perfect size for 2 in clothdiapers ;)